Shame on you, depression

There’s part of me that wants to be more open about my illness. I’d love to be blasé about it and just be able to say “I have depression” in a matter-of-fact way, the same way I might say “I am a teacher” or “I like to travel”, but the truth is I am yet to shake off the shame of it all. The sense of being a failure for being struck down time and again by my mental, uncooperative brain is unrelenting and one I can’t seem to jettison. While I impart no shame on others who suffer (not even secretly), in the war for control of my brain, I’ve lost this personal battle. I am and continued to feel ashamed and embarrassed.

So today, when someone at work asked why I was only working part time, I laughed and tried to get out of any kind of explanation by simply stating, truthfully, that I asked to be part-time. When that wasn’t enough, I mumbled something about needing time to relax and laughed again. The subject was dropped.

There was a rushed-passed thought of owning up, of simply stating the facts: that I’ve been ill, that I’ve been depressed and that it tires me out. I wouldn’t have gone any further into details – the exhaustion of keeping up a pretence, of keeping on top of planning and teaching and maintaining my “normal person” façade; the apathy that seeps into everything and makes even the simplicity of walking and talking hard; the fear of inappropriate tears or impolite outbursts; the stress of timetables and deadlines… No one needs all that information. But the basics could have been uttered with minimal fuss if only I could be brave enough, if only I could lose the shame.

I need to figure out where the shame comes from and why it lingers. Maybe if I can settle on a reason (or reasons) I can begin to tackle them and be more honest.

Although there is part of me that thinks surely no one else is interested.

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